Monday, May 07, 2012

Allocation of Playing Fields Did Not Violate Establishment Clause

In Rogers v. Mulholland, (D RI, May 4, 2012), a Rhode Island federal district court rejected claims by municipal taxpayers that the city of Pawtucket violated the Establishment Clause in the way it allocated use of publicly owned athletic fields for use by private religious schools. The court said in part:
There is no evidence that the fields are used for anything other than a purely secular purpose. The sectarian school students are receiving a benefit available to all junior high and high school students in the City. Public schools receive preferential assignments for all games. The Court concludes that a reasonable observer aware of the relevant circumstances and context of the City's conduct would not perceive a message of governmental endorsement or sponsorship of religion.